The stratosphere (ˈstrætəsfɪər) is the second major layer of Earth's atmosphere
Earth's atmosphere
The atmosphere of Earth is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention , and reducing temperature extremes between day and night...

, just above the troposphere
The troposphere is the lowest portion of Earth's atmosphere. It contains approximately 80% of the atmosphere's mass and 99% of its water vapor and aerosols....

, and below the mesosphere
The mesosphere is the layer of the Earth's atmosphere that is directly above the stratosphere and directly below the thermosphere. In the mesosphere temperature decreases with increasing height. The upper boundary of the mesosphere is the mesopause, which can be the coldest naturally occurring...

. It is stratified in temperature, with warmer layers higher up and cooler layers farther down. This is in contrast to the troposphere near the Earth's surface, which is cooler higher up and warmer farther down. The border of the troposphere and stratosphere, the tropopause
The tropopause is the atmospheric boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere.-Definition:Going upward from the surface, it is the point where air ceases to cool with height, and becomes almost completely dry...

, is marked by where this inversion begins, which in terms of atmospheric thermodynamics
Atmospheric thermodynamics
Atmospheric thermodynamics is the study of heat to work transformations in the earth’s atmospheric system in relation to weather or climate...

 is the equilibrium level
Equilibrium level
In meteorology, the equilibrium level , or level of neutral buoyancy , or limit of convection , is the height at which a rising parcel of air is at a temperature of equal warmth to it....